How to make email an effective customer relations tool

Skip Fidura, dotmailer
- Marketing - Jul 25, 2016

For consumers to spend money with you, they need to trust you and feel valued. One of the best marking channels that companies can use to engage with customers is email, but the inbox is a competitive environment.

Businesses need to fight for cut-through against the growing number of competitors also vying for attention, and the key to doing so is great content. That means every email needs to be engaging, personalised and directly relevant.

Doing this at scale, however, poses a difficult challenge for any business. When your customer database has tens or hundreds of thousands of names in it, knowing each of their individual preferences and targeting communications accordingly is simply impossible to do manually.

This is where technology comes in. By plugging automation technologies into intelligent ecommerce platforms like Magento, businesses can track customer behaviour to an extraordinarily sophisticated level. Using these insights, companies can then build audience segments based on their behaviours and preferences, as well as more basic demographic and geographical information.

It is an iterative process. While gathering all this insight enables businesses to initially build profiles of their customers, as engagement goes on brands will learn more and more about the customers organically. This ever-increasing depth of insight enables businesses to adapt, evolve and improve their targeting by building ever more sophisticated segments. This ensures that every email sent provides consumers with something that is of genuine value, reaching them with the right content at the right time.

It is not just ecommerce software that can help businesses build better relationships with customers though. The information stored in social media platforms is a goldmine of rich data, providing a view of education, brand likes, attitudes, opinions, affinities and behaviour. By combining social data with the brand’s own first party and added-value third party data, (such as household income), companies can attempt to build the most complete customer picture possible.

Apps are also a great source of data which businesses are increasingly plugging into their email marketing activities. Toning belt company Slendertone sought to gain a better understanding of how its customers were using its products, which led to the development of Connect Abs: a wearable device which feeds data into a motivational coaching app on the customer’s smartphone.

The brand’s challenge is that customers tend to hit a motivation wall at around three to four weeks, but it usually takes four to six weeks to start seeing and feeling the results. By utilising the dotmailer for Magento connector, Slendertone was able to harness the power of the data gathered via the Connect Abs platform to send users personalized emails based on their individual progress. This meant that Slendertone was able to communicate with customers at the exact moment their motivation needed a pickup, to help re-introduce them to their toning program. Using the Connect Abs information, and measuring re-engagement from the platform, the company has seen a 21 percent success rate in encouraging people to pick their belt back up and start toning again.

By paying attention to customers’ preferences and behaviours, as Slendertone has, companies can keep customers engaged throughout their journey with the brand. Indeed, Slendertone recently won ‘Best Use of Data’ at dotmailer’s inaugural ‘dotties’ awards for its work.

Technology is enabling brands like Slendertone to develop and deepen relationships with their customers, without the need for a huge team. When the technologies talk to each other and work in harmony, businesses can leverage data from apps and wearables to enhance channels like email – so they always send the right message at the right time. 

By Skip Fidura, Client Services Director at dotmailer

Read the July EURO 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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